Mumbai

Defective electrical circuits caused fires in city last year

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Most were in residential structures: RTI response

Most of the 4,899 fire incidents reported in Mumbai last year in which 52 people died, were due to defective electrical circuits, information procured through a Right to Information (RTI) application has revealed.

Mumbai sees an unusually high number of fires and disasters every year. While experts have not been able to trace a pattern, haphazard development, lack of fire and electrical audits are some general reasons.

Kurla-based activist Shakeel Ahmed Shaikh had filed an RTI application for information on the number of fire incidents in Mumbai in 2018. According to the response he received from the Mumbai Fire Brigade, there were 4,899 fire calls in the entire year. Most of these were in residential structures (969), followed by highrises (151). Highrises may also be residential but the development control regulations term a building taller than seven floors as a highrise. Slum structures saw 544 fires while commercial structures saw 386 such incidents.

The Fire Brigade has concluded ‘defective electric circuit’ as the cause in 3,195 cases, while gas cylinder explosion was the cause in only 111 cases.

“The number of fire incidents in Mumbai was similar 10 years ago too, and nothing has changed. The Fire Brigade claims to have done thousands of inspections through its prevention cell in the past one year but they inflate numbers. They have not been able to inspect the lakhs of buildings in Mumbai or ensure compliance,” Mr. Shaikh said.

He also said in Mumbai, people are lax about fire audits, so nobody even bothers about an electric audit of their houses. “As a family’s needs increase, the home’s electric circuit comes under strain and leads to fires,” Mr. Shaikh said.

His RTI also reveals that Mumbai faced property damage of ₹16 crore due to these fires.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 5:37:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/defective-electrical-circuits-caused-fires-in-city-last-year/article26525657.ece

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